Via Jim Calfa: Promoter Bob Arum greatly admires Vasily Lomachenko for choosing to return to Ukraine to defend his country against the Russian invasion two weeks ago.
Arum revealed that former triple world champion Lomachenko (16-2, 11 KOs) was in Greece at the time of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Lomachenko immediately returned to Ukraine to be with his family.
Instead of leaving Ukraine with his family for the safety of the United States, where Lomachenko has a home, he chose to enlist in the army to defend his country.
Essentially, Arum had a deal done for Lomachenko to challenge four-belt lightweight champion George Kambosos Jr. on June 4 in Australia.
Kambosos and promoter Lou DiBella are still waiting to see if Lomachenko can return from Ukraine for the June 4 battle. However, it looks like the war won’t happen.
The money Lomachenko earns against Kambosos will be substantial, but it is likely he will stay in Ukraine to continue defending his country rather than return to the US to train for the summer battle of Kambosos.
Arum admires Lomachenko
Bob Arum said: “For me, Vasyl Lomachenko is like a real hero. Against TV Hub. “Vasyl, before this conflict broke out, he was training in Greece.
“He drove back to go with his family to join the army to protect Ukraine. He can bring his family back to the United States, where he has a home. He has a green card here.
“He didn’t do it because he felt it was his duty to the Ukrainian people to stand up and fight against Russian aggression. For me, that’s real heroism.
“It made him pocket money because we had an agreement in principle with [promoter] Lou DiBella let him fight [George] Kambosos in Australia in June. That war is now in jeopardy because he’s in Ukraine fighting for his people.
“Now there is a decree that if you are a person of military age in Ukraine, you cannot go out because you have to fight. He was out, but he chose to come back. So a lot of props for Vasyl Lomachenko. He is my hero, and what he did in this situation is a testament to great courage.
“The Russians, wherever they go in Ukraine, randomly shell citizens. His village is 15 miles from Odessa. From the reports, the Russians were contemplating landing on Odessa, a major port city on the Baltic Sea, in which case Britain would be in considerable danger. Right now, they haven’t entered Odessa yet,” said Arum.
If the Russians attacked Odessa, Lomachenko could be in the thick of the front lines. It remains to be seen whether the Russo-Ukrainian war will end soon, but if it drags on, Lomachenko could be tied up for a considerable amount of time.
Oleksandr Usyk in danger
“The warrior in great danger is Oleksandr Usyk because his home is on the outskirts of Kyiv, and it’s under siege as we speak,” Arum said. “I don’t want to bother Vasyl and I don’t want to bother Oleksandr, who I don’t promote as a good friend of mine,” Arum said.
Before the fight broke out, IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) planned to defend against former champ Anthony Joshua in May or June in a bout should have paid a very high price for the 2012 Olympic gold medalist.
“I get all of my information through Egis Klimas, their manager, who talks to them daily,” says Arum. “I would never ask a man to leave his country when he feels obliged in every way possible to protect it. Doing that would be the opposite of how I would act.
“I just thought that would be wrong, so I would never suggest something like that. I’m really proud of him and Oleksandr Usyk for taking the position they have regarding the defense of Ukraine.
“It depends on the personality of the fighter, the personality of the person,” Arum said when told that some fighters say they would never choose to stay and fight if they were in a bad situation. Similar situation when attacked by Russia.
“I think there are some Ukrainians who won’t do what Usyk and Lomachenko did,” Arum said.
Lomachenko vs. Kambosos was done
Arum said: “It was all done when asked how close it was to making the match between Lomachenko and George Kambosos Jr official on June 4 before Russia invaded Ukraine.
“They agreed to everything. Lou sent us a letter today saying he’ll hold out a bit and then he’ll have to move on but thanked us for negotiating all this in good faith.
“If this is not resolved by the end of the week, Lou has to find his fighter. He is a gentleman and all this and there is always tomorrow.
“So the Kambosos could get another opponent, and hopefully win and then be able to fight Loma at the end of the year, assuming the conflict is resolved.
Arum discusses Beterbiev .’s situation
“Beterbiev, I spoke to a journalist a little while ago and explained to him that Beterbiev was not in that combination,” Arum said of the IBF/WBC light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev not who could be disqualified from the competition for calling for a ban on Russian athletes from competing in the sport.
“Beterbiev was born Russian, but he has lived in Montreal for 14 years now and holds the equivalent of a Canadian green card, plus a Canadian passport.
“So at this point, he’s actually more Canadian than Russian. It really falls on someone like Bivol and obviously Russian and has a home in Russia. The issue was whether to stop Bivol from fighting with Canelo, and I had to think a little more carefully before giving my opinion.
“I’m not sure. I can see the arguments both ways. It also explains why you’re expropriating the financiers. So there are problems both ways,” Arum said. .